Panic in school playground

At the time of writing, several thousand people have died from an illness which has infected many more in six out of the seven continents, with grim warnings that it isn’t going to get better anytime soon.

Wednesday, 4th March 2020, 5:00 pm
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But nobody, not even really clever people with letters after their names, can give us any firm answers and, thus far, the Government seems to be adopting the Lance Corporal Jones ‘don’t panic’ approach, which involves saying very little publicly, except for advising us all to wash our hands. Even the most optimistic of economic soothsayers are struggling to rule out the possibility of a global recession, should this health crisis continue to spread fear at the rate it is.

The much-needed guidance we require from international leaders has not been forthcoming but is that really a surprise, given the unpredictability of coronavirus?

Coronavirus is the talk of playgrounds everywhere, and despite the measured way the message is being conveyed across many schools, there is genuine concern among the young and impressionable.

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My 10-year-old is no exception and, if she had the means, would seriously consider upping sticks to Antarctica - the only corner of the globe which has escaped its reach. While we all want engaged children, who are aware of their surroundings and the dangers they might pose, we don’t want them to be terrified of going about the business of growing up. I have already failed with my attempts at giving some much-needed context, by pointing out fewer than 100,000 of the world’s 8bn population have caught something that is only likely to cause you serious harm if you are very old or have a serious illness. ‘Unconvincing’ was the withering assessment of my impression of a responsible adult.

I thought I had struck a chord when I parroted the fact that, each year people die from the ‘flu in the UK, but was quickly reminded ‘we have a jab for the ‘flu dad - we have to wait a year for the vaccine for this’.

I suspect I might have to work that little bit harder if I want to bring some certainty to the Tapp household.